COMME DES GARÇONS

The company has over the years recurrently associated itself with the arts and cultural projects internationally.

By Frosina Dimova

COMME DES GARÇONS

Comme des Garçons Co., Ltd. is a Japanese fashion label founded and headed by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo and Place Vendôme in Paris, the city in which they show their main collections during Paris Fashion Week and Paris Men's Fashion Week. The Japanese flagship store is in Aoyama, Tokyo's high fashion district. The company also has concept stores Trading Museum Comme des Garçons and 10 Corso Como Comme des Garçons in Tokyo, and stores in Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka and so on. Worldwide they have traditional Comme des Garçons stores in Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré in Paris and on West 22nd Street in New York City, as well as stores in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Melbourne, etc.

Since 2004, Comme des Garçons has developed a market-based department store concept stocking its main collections, its other brands such as Shirt and Play, as well as fashions by other designers. Its original market store, called Dover Street Market, opened in London in 2004. In 2010, the company opened I.T Beijing Market Comme des Garçons (which turned into a full Dover Street Market in 2018), followed by a new Dover Street Market store in Ginza, Tokyo in 2012, and New York City in 2013, as well as Singapore and Los Angeles.

The label was started in Tokyo by Rei Kawakubo in 1969 and established as a company in 1973. It is written in Japanese as コム・デ・ギャルソン (Komu de Gyaruson), and translates as "like boys" in French. The brand's name was inspired by Francoise Hardy's 1962 song "Tous les garçons et les filles", particularly from the line Comme les garçons et les filles de mon âge. The brand became successful in Japan in the 1970s; a menswear line was added in 1978. The year 1981 saw Comme des Garçons's debut show in Paris. Kawakubo's heavy use of black, as well as distressed fabrics and unfinished seams, were viewed negatively by French critics.

Throughout the 1980s, Comme des Garçons's clothes often were associated with a 'distressed' and 'punk' oriented style. Comme des Garçons continued to produce unusual styles through the 1990s, many of which were disliked by experts but by 2004 the company had grown Homme des Garçons Deux and Comme des Garçons Shirt, are all handmade. This is because Comme des Garçons adamantly values the quality of hand-made garments, reflected in the more expensive price and longevity of their products. Play, the company's luxury casual streetwear line, is mainly produced in Japan, Spain, and Turkey, with France's Play factory still utilizing many hand-made procedures as opposed to Japan, Spain, and Turkey's production line factory. This is because France's factory also produces hand-made only lines, including Tricot Comme des Garçons, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Evergreen, and Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garçons. It is believed that all fabrics are produced in Japan, but some China and Australia sold pieces are hand-finished in France for quality control purposes (distinguishable by the hand stitched heart emblem). In an article for Business of Fashion in April 2017, Tim Blanks reported generated revenue for CDG and its affiliates as "over $280 million a year".

Comme des Garcons.
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